By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– It was truly a great match-up between two Top 5 teams in all of 4A between the North Marion girls and the Cascade Cougars Tuesday night as you expected it to come down to the last shot.
And it did come down to the absolute last shot, but it didn’t start off that way.
Instead, it looked as if it’ll be a Battle of The Bench with 13 combined fouls to a 7-1 Lady Huskie lead entering the second quarter as the physicality of the game was at a high demand.
For North Marion, the question was how to slow down Halle Wright? The answer was found when Emily Scanlan was on the junior as Wright was held to two points in the second quarter and six total points all game.
“Emily Scanlan basically had her all night long,” said Lindy Wing. “She did a really awesome job shutting her down for the most part but she did really good. She dug in deep and she had the mindset that she was going to shut her down.”
But, the Cougars found a groove elsewhere as they took a 12-9 halftime lead, and behind four three-pointers by Mariah Hollenbeck in the third quarter alone, Cascade built a 14-point lead mid third quarter.
“You just got to step up, we know everyon’es gunning for Halle and everyone is going to try to take her out and you just have to work together as a team and push through it,” said Hollenbeck who finished with 14 points on the night.
But, that’s when something interesting happened.
North Marion did not run away, nor did they shy away from the Lady Cougs as they slowly chipped away at the lead entering the fourth quarter.
“It made me really happy, there’s really was anytime that we could have been, ‘alright guys, we’re done’ but we took it as, ‘let’s go, we got to go and fight’ and that’s what we did and I’m glad we our team could do that,” said Hannah Kinniburgh.
Ally Umbenhower got it to six to start the fourth, and it hanged around between five and eight with time trickling away.:
Umbenhower cut it to five, then four after the following Cascade possession with 1:13 left in the game with Cascade up 42-38.
The Cougars tried to milk the clock, but were forced into taking a timeout cause of the Huskies heavy defense. Wright was fouled coming out of the timeout, but missed the free throw as Mar Verastegui drove deep and made a contested lay-up with 33.2 left in the game and was fouled.
The Sophomore converted the ‘And-One’ to bring North to within one, 42-41.
“We just dug in deep and started to play as a team and our shots finally started to going in,” said Wing. “We battled, we really battled. It would’ve been awesome to beat them.”
But then, the icer, Hollenbeck was fouled immediately and nailed both free throw to put Cascade up three with 32.2 left.
“It’s hard, but I knew I had my teammates right behind me and I had my teammates back,” said Hollenbeck.
The Lady Huskies brought the ball up the court before calling time with 25 seconds left and held for the last shot for overtime.
They couldn’t find a clear shot, and as time expired, Umbenhower heaved a three-pointer to only fall short of sending it to overtime.
“It’s rough but, we’re going to play them again and we just need to take it into perspective with all the other teams that we played and realize, ‘alright guys, we need to keep this up, we need to keep how we played against Cascade’ because we played really well against them,” said Kinniburgh.
Cascade knows that North Marion will be gunning for them again on February 21 to get revenge on Tuesday’s loss to end the season strong.
“I think we need to stay focused and come out strong and finish the entire game strong,” said Karen Miller, the senior followed her 17 point game with a 10 point performance Tuesday.
UP NEXT- CASCADE- @Yamhill-Carlton-8p NORTH MARION-vs. Newport 7p
Boy did Grant Henry make a splash Tuesday night in the nightcap versus Cascade.
The Sophomore dropped a game-high 29 points on the Cougars, 13 coming in the first quarter, as the Huskies opened the game on a 21-8 tear to go with their strong defensive performance in their big victory Tuesday night.
“It started on the defensive side, we probably played our best defensive game this season,” said Henry. “And it opened offensive play down at the ground.
“It was a good win for us, especially against Cascade because they were 3-1 coming into the game, like I said it was, defensively, our best game. But we just got to keep going to practice and keep working hard.”
Cascade cut it to 21-12 during the second quarter, but that would be the closest they would get as North Marion outscored the Cougars 54-33 for the remainder of the game for the 75-45 victory as both teams are now tied for second in the Oregon West Conference standings.
“A game like this, I think we could’ve won, they’re a very good team, we could’ve won this game, we were playing the way we shouldn’t,” said Josh Osuna. “And in games in where we played where we shouldn’t, we won’t win.
“So it’s frustrating but you know, we got something to prove. ..Come back on Friday (to) get a ‘W’, we play the way we do, we play the way we should, play the way we can play.”
Osuna finished with two points as Damien Ball led Cascade with 14 points Tyler Walker had 13.
UP NEXT- CASCADE- @Yamhill-Carlton 630pm. NORTH MARION- vs. Newport 530pm